With so much of the bloggerverse obsessed with food, gadget and cars, it was almost inevitable that, a week after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, attention would end up on that trifecta of coastal consumerism: the iPad 2, Prius and sushi.
As reports of the economic fallout arrived, headlines like "Apple iPad 2 supplies 'threatened by Japan disaster,'" "Japan Earthquake May Cause Prius Shortage," and "Bay Area Sushi Bars Face Daunting Supply Shortages" reflect the worries facing upscale consumers thousands of miles from the devastation. Given the amount of consumer-driven (and therefore ad-friendly) coverage on the web, it's no surprise that reports of some of the most popular status symbols are reaching saturation point:
- Sushi - "Umi is one of several sushi restaurants in the Bay Area that is expecting long-lasting effects from the disaster in Japan," CBS San Fransisco reports in an example of one of the sushi trend stories. The article then notes, "but it’s not only restaurants that are suffering. I Love Blue Sea...said they’ve already seen a drop in the availability of the popular Hokkaido scallops." And this morning, restaurant site The Feast gave a pretty extensive rundown of reports on how sushi restaurants in major cities are faring. (Sample report: "All the fish is coming from the south, so I don't think it's affected. I don't hear anything from the customers yet.")
- iPad 2 - In lieu of Japan's disaster, the breathless Apple coverage became even more breathless after the tech company announced it was facing shortages for iPad 2 parts. "Tech consumers waiting anxiously for the arrival of an iPad 2 may have to wait even longer–the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan might result in supply shortages for the newly-released gadget," lead Fox News in covering the news.
- Prius - "It may soon become much harder to get your hands on the wheel of a Prius," leads Time magazine, before adding a bit of context: "The earthquake and tsunami that have caused over 10,000 deaths, swept away whole towns and plunged Japan into a nuclear crisis will have an impact, albeit a much less dire one, on U.S. car buyers as well." The story explains that the popular gas-electric hybrid is made exclusively in Japan. The quake has caused power problems throughout the country and it is uncertain whether the factories that produce the Prius will have adequate power to resume. American car sellers are predicting that the iconic environmentall-friendly vehicle may soon go out of stock on lots.
In a similar vein, today Pew Research Center issued their latest report of trending topics on Twitter for the week of March 7-11 (right as the earthquake became big news, but before intense scrutiny of the nuclear plant). Glancing at the chart below you can see that the major tsunami, earthquake and the civil war in Libya managed to beat out teen starlet Justin Bieber in the percentage of links shared on the social networking website. But it was still pretty close: